DETROIT (WJBK) - Former trash collection giant Chuck Rizzo, Jr. and his father reached a deal Wednesday with federal prosecutors in the ongoing Macomb County corruption case, but it may be too late to save the Rizzos.
Despite Chuck finally making up his mind, Wayne state university law school professor and former federal prosecutor Peter Henning said it may be too late to help his case.
"He may have burned himself as a witness," Henning said.
Rizzo is a key figure in the feds' investigation into public corruption in Macomb County. He was caught on a wiretap and the FBI turned him into a cooperating witness. He helped the FBI nail several public officials who were accepting cash in return for their support of municipal contracts with Rizzo Environmental Services.
However, that didn't list and Rizzo stopped cooperating. He was indicted along with his father and towing contractor Gasper Fiore.
"Something happened. There was some concern on his part that he didn't want to either continue to cooperate or didn't think he was kind of getting the deal that he deserved," Henning said.
Among the charges in that indictment is that Chuck Rizzo, Jr. used some of the money he made on government contracts to help pay for a $2.5 million mansion in Oakland County.
On Wednesday, he changed his mind again and took a plea deal. Henning says the feds will likely make the Rizzos pay a price for being wishy-washy.
"I expect they don't really need him any more, so they're not going to go to bat for him when sentencing rolls around," he said.
The maximum the Rizzos face is 20 years in prison. They may not get the max but Henning says it won't be because the feds went to bat for Chuck Rizzo.
"They will note his cooperation, but they will also note he forced the government to indict him. That doesn't put him in as strong a position to beg for mercy from the judge," Henning said. "They could even seek a more substantial sentence than he wants."
Rizzo Plea Hearing Scheduled on Scribd